With Vladimir Putin’s announcement that he was putting all his armies on alert, including those for nuclear response, many professionals have wondered what would happen if, if that were the case, nuclear warheads began to cross the skies: this is what a nuclear winter is like .
Nuclear winter is a hypothetical phenomenon that describes the short-term and long-term climatic impacts of an atomic war. According to the theory, more people would die from the after effects of the impacts than from the direct casualties in the combatant countries (in Russia they go for 5,300 soldiers).
A 2014 study shows that even a small-scale nuclear war would emit enough smoke to block out sunlight to such an extent that the Earth experiences the coldest temperatures since the last ice age (thousands of years ago).
As the smoke remains for years in the stratosphere, surface temperatures could remain very low for more than 25 yearsas explained by climate models.
This occurs primarily due to the thermal inertia of cooling ocean waters and the additional reflection of sunlight back into space by expanding sea ice.
The effects would be similar to those that occurred after the great volcanic eruption of Tambora in Indonesia in 1815which triggered the infamous Year Without a Summer in 1816 in the Northern Hemisphere.
Deadly frosts disrupted farming for all the summer months in New England, and unusually cold and wet weather in Europe led to widespread crop failure, leading to famine and economic collapse.
While the cooling effect of that eruption only lasted a year, a small-scale nuclear exchange would cause 5 to 10 consecutive years without a summer and more than a decade of reduced crop yields.
Although most of these predictions have been made against the backdrop of a possible nuclear war between India and Pakistan in recent years, they are equally valid for a nuclear war anywhere in the world. For example, the one that Russia could unleash after its threat.
For Ukraine, which is home to 35% of Europe’s biodiversity with only 6% of the continent’s land massthis scenario could be even more devastating.
The nuclear winter papers were widely credited with aiding the nuclear arms reduction treaties of the 1990s, as it was clear that we risk catastrophic global climate change in the event of a full-scale nuclear war.
The total number of nuclear arsenals has been reduced by 80% since then, from more than 70,000 in 1986 to less than 13,000 today, despite the addition of more countries equipped with nuclear weapons.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism